Is premarital sex sin against God?

sex, premarital sex, sin, marriage, husband and wife, fornication

Time and time again the world will have Christians believe that premarital sex is okay. Many Christians will often know in their head that it’s wrong, but for some reason can’t find any Scriptural support to back this up. They’ll say there is nowhere is the Bible where it specifically says premarital sex is a sin. But are they right? Are there really no references in Scripture that say it’s wrong? Contrary to what the world will have us believe, it is indeed a sin against God and there are plenty of verses that say as much.


1. The Bible is outdated: If the Bible is outdated then why believe any of it? This would then mean things like stealing, lying, and murder is also okay since they’re really not applicable to this day and age. Most would agree nothing could be further from the truth. We can’t just pick and choose what we want to listen to from the Bible. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

2. Premarital sex brings you closer together: In one sense this is true, since sex causes two people to become one (Mark 10:6-9), but this is only meant to be experienced within the context of marriage. This quote from an article called “Why wait for sex?” says it well:

“…sex is an expression of intimacy, not the means to intimacy. True intimacy springs from verbal and emotional communion. True intimacy is built on a commitment to honesty, love and freedom. True intimacy is not primarily a sexual encounter. Intimacy, in fact, has almost nothing to do with our sex organs. A prostitute may expose her body, but her relationships are hardly intimate.” – Alice Fryling

3. Premarital sex helps determine if your “right for each other”: It can be easy for some to think they need to “test drive” their potential spouse in order to see if they’re the right one for them. However, there are multiple problems with this kind of thinking: Firstly, it sets things up for a “comparison competition.” It’s like a man who goes out to buy a lawnmower and is trying to compare to see which one’s the best. Though this may seem like a good thing at first glance, there is a slight variable not taken into consideration… lawnmowers don’t have emotions like humans do. Imagine if in marriage your spouse was constantly comparing you to other potential mates? Eventually, you’ll lose out since there’s no reason to stop the “comparison battle” while married. For this very reason, marriages that start out this way almost always fall apart. Which brings us to the second flaw in this thinking; it’s basing the relationship primarily on sex. This then puts what really matters as secondary to sex, such as the emotional and intellectual aspects, spiritual intimacy, partnership, and of course, Jesus. Not exactly a good foundation for marriage.

4. It’s fun and there are no long-term commitments: Without long-term commitments, there’s no way to build trust for the other person, not to mention much of anything else when the relationship’s based upon sex.

5. Premarital sex is fun and harmless: After looking at the above arguments, can we really say it’s harmless? Sin always leaves scars and is not something that should be brought into a marriage.

6. It’s okay as long as you’re going to be married to each other: That’s exactly what Satan wants us to think. He wants us to make it a habit of obeying our desires instead of God’s. It shows the persons involved are willing to disregard what God (the Creator of marriage) says in order to give each other temporary gratification and reap lasting consequences as a result. It’s a good way to destroy the marriage before it even starts.


There are multiple words used to describe premarital sex:

(Hebrew) zãnãh: to commit fornication, be a harlot, play the harlot

A. (Qal)

  1. to be a harlot, act as a harlot, commit fornication
  2. to commit adultery
  3. to be a cult prostitute
  4. to be unfaithful (to God) (fig.)

B. (Pual) to play the harlot

C. (Hiphil)

  1. to cause to commit adultery
  2. to force into prostitution
  3. to commit fornication

(Greek) porneia: harlotry (including adultery and incest); figuratively idolatry: – fornication.

A. illicit sexual intercourse

  1. adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.
  2. sexual intercourse with close relatives; Lev. 18
  3. sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman; Mk. 10:11,

B. metaph. the worship of idols

  1. of the defilement of idolatry, as incurred by eating the sacrifices offered to idols

(English) fornication: sexual relationships outside the bonds of marriage; fornication involves at least one person who is unmarried.

***Side Note:: There is a distinction between fornication and adultery – Fornication involves at least one person who is unmarried, and adultery is sexual activity with another man’s wife, or a married woman’s sexual activity with a man who’s not her husband.


So it is seen that there are words in Hebrew and Greek for the English word fornication. In fact, not only does fornication fall under the category of sexual immorality, it also means sexual immorality. This is not to say sexual immorality only means fornication; it means a lot more than that (such as adultery, bestiality, homosexual practices, orgies, incest and so on…). Sexual immorality basically means any sexual practice outside the biblical definition of marriage. The definition of a biblical marriage is this: “the union of a man and a woman as husband and wife, which becomes the foundation for a home and family.” This is how God intended marriage to be, but humans have distorted what marriage is supposed to be which leads to what the Bible calls sexual immorality.


Now that it has been established that fornication falls under the term sexual immorality, we can see all the verses in Scripture that say it’s clearly sin against God (not all references to sexual immorality are included in the list below):

  • Genesis 39:7-9 And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.” But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except yourself, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”
  • Numbers 25:1-3 While Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab. These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel.
  • Deuteronomy 22:28-29 “If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her. He may not divorce her all his days.”
  • Deuteronomy 23:17-18 “None of the daughters of Israel shall be a cult prostitute, and none of the sons of Israel shall be a cult prostitute. You shall not bring the fee of a prostitute or the wages of a dog into the house of the Lord your God in payment for any vow, for both of these are an abomination to the Lord your God.”
  • Proverbs 6:24-26 To preserve you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress. Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes; for the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread, but a married woman hunts down a precious life.
  • Matthew 15:19-20 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”
  • Mark 7:20-23 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
  • Acts 15:20 But should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood.
  • Romans 13:13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.
  • 1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
  • 1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.
  • 1 Corinthians 7:2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.
  • 1 Corinthians 10:8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.
  • Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,
  • Ephesians 5:3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.
  • Ephesians 5:5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
  • Colossians 3:5  Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;
  • 1 Timothy 1:9-10 Understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,
  • Hebrews 13:4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
  • Jude 1:7 Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
  • Revelation 21:8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
  • Revelation 22:15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.


The good news is Christ offers forgiveness and salvation to all who will receive it (1 John 1:9). As Billy Graham put it; “there is forgiveness and new life for all who turn to Christ in repentance and faith. Yes, we live in a sex-saturated society–but with God’s help we can follow a far better path.” If you desire to follow this far better path and receive the salvation Christ offers you, then please read How do I become a Christian?

4 thoughts on “Is premarital sex sin against God?

  1. You define adultery as “the sexual activity committed with someone other than their spouse

    That is the popular definition of adultery common in today’s churches, but it is not the actual Biblical definition of adultery. For Biblical adultery to occur, a married woman is violated.

    The Bible generally defines adultery as:
    1. Having sex with another man’s wife
    2. From the female perspective, having sex with a man other than her own husband.

    Jesus and Malachi also tell us that a man unjustly divorcing his wife in order to get a different one is basically adultery as well.

    Look at the following passages for the definition I gave above.

    Leviticus 18:20, Exodus 20:17, Leviticus 20:10, Proverbs 6:29, Proverbs 7:19, Proverbs 2:16-17, Jeremiah 29:23, Ezekiel 16:32, Deuteronomy 5:21, Deuteronomy 22:22-24, 2nd Samuel 12:10, Genesis 20:3, Genesis 39:9, Numbers 5:12-13, Numbers 13:11-31, Romans 7:1-2.

    King David for example did not commit adultery when he took his second, third, fourth wife etc. He committed adultery when he took another man’s wife (Uriah’s wife Bathsheeba). God treated the polygamy and the adultery totally differently (2nd Samuel 12).

    I’m not arguing that polygamy is a good idea or anything. I’m just saying that in the Bible, God treats it as marriage, and not adultery.

    David did not commit adultery against his first wife Michal when he later married Abigail, Ahinoam, etc.

    1. Thanks for catching that Bart:) I should’ve been more specific in this article on what adultery actually is. I’ll be sure to change that seeing as the definition I put down does present some problems in regards to polygamy. Also I’m not sure what you mean by having an incorrect reference to Numbers 13 seeing as I made no such reference. I’m assuming you mean the Numbers 25:1-3 reference? I was specifically referring to fornication, not adultery. Thanks for your input Bart, I appreciate your help!

      1. Sorry for the confusion. I was referring to where I mentioned Numbers 13, but actually meant Numbers 5. It was my mixup. Thank you for your kind reply.

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